REVIEW: Defenders #6
Or – “FAT COBRA!”
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Victor Ibáñez
Finisher: Tom Palmer & Terry Pallot
Cover Artist(s): Terry & Rachel Dodson
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously, in The Defenders: The discovery of the first Concordance Engine was a curiosity, but ever since it’s unearthing, the newest members of the Defenders (founding members Doctor Strange and Namor, long-term member The Silver Surfer, as well as brand-new members Iron Fist and Red She-Hulk) have found their lives filled with odd coincidence, and their minds filled with odd compulsions. Strange and Namor have found their deepest beliefs challenged, and their lives shaken, especially after a second Concordance Engine was discovered in Atlantis. As for the latest bearer of the mantle of Iron Fist, his evening revels were interrupted by the arrival on his doorstep of a badly wounded Fat Cobra… Looks like it’s Danny’s turn to have his life screwed up.
AN UNEXPECTED (BUT REMARKABLE) PAIRING…
Fat Cobra’s arrival on Danny’s doorstep leads to three revelations: First, Misty Knight isn’t willing to cut Iron Fist any slack, informing him that until his weirdness is done, their relationship is likewise. Secondly, Fat Cobra isn’t quite dead, but Dog Brother #1, the Bride Of Nine Spiders and The Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter are really, most sincerely toast. And the Cobra’s last words before falling unconscious are ominously familiar: “Shut the engines down!” The issue sets Iron Fist off on the trail of something he can’t even explain (literally, as all the Defenders find their minds somewhat clouded by proximity to or events involving the engine), and he calls in for backup in the form of Norrin Radd, the Silver Surfer. The Rand/Radd pairing is an interesting one, reminding me of the days when Danny himself was the Stranger in a Strange Land alongside Luke Cage. The two heroes start going through the journals of Orson Randall, the previous Iron Fist, for clues about what connection the Immortal Weapons might have to the Concordance Engines.
HIDDEN WORLDS, LOST HEROES.
Interestingly, Iron Fist discovers that the engines are called Concordance Engines in this issue, which is either an awesome reference to the engines mental side-effect, or a realization that Marvel’s solicitations give away far too much of the plot. The Iron & Silver team find that Orson Randall DID in fact interact with these very incidents, tying into last issue’s revelations about Captain Nemo, King Namor and the throne of Atlantis, as well as Matt Fraction’s superlative run on Immortal Iron Fist a couple of years ago. The mysteries that the Defenders face are slowly unraveling, but every answer raises more questions, in a very good way. Doctor Strange’s status as an Avenger is addressed briefly, and the reveal of the man behind the murder of the Immortal Weapons is both surprising and not surprising, all at once. The interior art is once again not provided by the Dodsons, but Victor Ibáñez does a good enough job that I wasn’t bothered terribly by a different art team…
THE VERDICT: FNARPLE
The lineup of the Defenders is one of most fascinating in Marvel’s current lineup (perhaps even in their history, although the New Fantastic Four had it’s moments) and even though most of the heroes have decades behind them, there are still new moments to be had, as with this month’s Iron Fist/Silver Surfer pairing. The art is on the money, while Fraction’s story keeps the weird characters uniquely weird, doesn’t neglect the characters’ personal lives, but keeps the story moving. I know that Fat Cobra probably won’t be joining the Defenders, but there’s a tiny part of me that hopes he’ll at least stay in the supporting cast, and I’m looking forward to seeing where this twisty-turny story goes. The Defenders #6 keeps bringing the good stuff, the weird stuff and the absolutely intriguing stuff, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars overall.